Program Summary


As COVID-19 spread across the globe in early 2020, it quickly became evident that government restrictions intended to limit the pandemic would cause a global economic slowdown. As consumer demand evaporated in response to government lockdowns, there was significant concern that the impact on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) – one of the prime contributors to economic growth and employment in emerging markets – would be devastating. Unfortunately, in many emerging markets there were few systemized ways to collect data on MSEs’ experience in normal times let alone during a pandemic. Without data, it would be impossible to understand the extent to which COVID-19 had disrupted the livelihoods of MSE operators and how they were coping in response. In turn, it would be more difficult for financial service providers (FSPs), investors, governments, and other stakeholders to craft effective responses to the crisis.

Our research on the financial health of MSEs during COVID-19 aims to fill that data gap and ensure these stakeholders have visibility on MSE wellbeing to address their needs. To that end, in May 2020, CFI launched a six-wave, longitudinal survey in four countries: Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. In each country, CFI surveyed MSE clients at one financial institution participating in Accion’s partnership with Mastercard every other month for one year. The research concluded in December 2022.


Learn about the research questions, survey instrument, and sampling approach used to conduct our research.

Explore more insights from our work on MSEs.

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